Not without cost
The Bruin football squad absolutely destroyed the Scots Friday, holding them to just 133 yards of total offense as it lit up the scoreboard with 51 points.
However, the impressive win didn’t come without blemish or pain.
Senior starting running back Caleb Johnson left the game the very first play from scrimmage and never returned. Later in the fourth quarter, senior back Matt Benson, who joined Garrett Ramsour and John Voter III in filling in for Johnson, was tackled awkwardly on a horse collar foul, and he too had to be helped off the field. Ironically in last season’s game versus Highlands, Bear River lost starting quarterback Dillon Smith to injury, and Thursday’s pre-game words of co-head coach Scott Savoie, “You never know what’s going to happen,” rang painfully true.
Co-head Terry Logue later described the victory as though he felt the team “won the battle but lost the war.”
The running back position was one where Bear River had extreme depth, but now with the status and seriousness of these injuries unknown, other players will undoubtedly be asked to step up as the Bruins head into the meat of their schedule.
The team’s first three opponents now have a combined record of 1-11, and its next six opponents have a combined record of 15-5.
Highlands’ 14 points came on big plays, something Logue was adamant about preventing. The Scots’ first score was a 95-yard kickoff return, and their second came on a 45-yard pass. Granted, these scores weren’t daggers in this game, but had Bear River been playing a team like Colfax, Center or River Valley, it could have very well cost them a victory.
On a more positive note, Highlands quarterback Quentin Anquiano was held to just 4-of-9 passing for 68 yards, which included the 45-yard touchdown pass. The Bruins defense also picked him twice and forced two fumbles. The run defense was even more superb, allowing only 30 yards on 11 carries, an average of 2.73 yards per rush.
As for the Bear River offense, it could have actually scored more, but with a large lead and potential injuries at risk, 51 definitely got the job done. Blake Nielson capped off the night hitting a 21-yard field goal after Bear River failed to find the end zone in the final minute of the third quarter.
Senior quarterback Braden Duncan handled the pass rush well and alluded defenders as he rolled out of the pocket to hit his receivers. He found Kris Edie eight times and Hunter Cramer twice, but his 10-of-17 performance could have been more like 15-of-17 as some balls found their way to the turf that should have been caught. It really wasn’t until the second quarter before the Bruins were able to kick it into high gear and pull away.
Duncan and Brad Botsford, like many starters, were taken out in the second half once the game was in hand — a smart move by co-head coaches Savoie and Logue, knowing the importance of longevity as they prepare for more talented teams on the horizon.
Bear River gets River Valley at home Friday.
Around the Pioneer Valley League
Colfax 30, Woodland 0
The Falcons are flying high after blanking the Wolves Friday night.
Colfax’s passing game shredded the Woodland secondary as senior quarterback Michael Wilson completed 18-of-29 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Chas Reisinger led the receiving corps with five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Reisinger also scored a rushing touchdown in the win. Kyle Bryant added four catches for 74 yards and a score, and Chris Harshman brought in seven passes for 72 yards.
The Falcons forced three fumbles, recovered two and intercepted Woodland three times as they tallied their first shutout since beating Mesa Verde 35-0 last year.
Colfax has this week off before taking on Mesa Verde Oct. 4 in its final nonleague game of the season.
Wheatland 27, Lincoln 26, OT
The Fighting Zebras dropped their first game of the season Friday, falling to the Pirates of Wheatland in overtime.
Lincoln and Wheatland went into overtime tied at 20. The Fighting Zebras scored a touchdown on their first possession but missed the extra point. Wheatland answered with a touchdown on their possession and hit the extra point to win the game.
The loss spoiled an amazing ground game for Lincoln’s Dane Stimbert, who finished with 222 rush yards and two touchdowns on just 15 attempts. Lincoln finished with 324 rush yards and 424 total yards in the loss.
Rio Linda 54, Foothill 7
The Mustangs are yet to notch a win this season, losing to Rio Linda by a lopsided margin.
The Knights jumped on Foothill 33-0 by half and cruised the rest of the way.
Center (bye), Placer (bye).
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Walter Ford contributed to this article. All stats are courtesy of MaxPreps.com.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.